Burris Landmark Pf Binocular
If appearance is any criterion, this
year’s Landmark Pf not only represents an almost radical departure from preceding
versions but may hint of designs to come. Most of the binocular is protected by a thick,
matte-black and gray rubberized coating. Unlike traditional porro designs where prisms are
displaced laterally to give better depth perception, the Pf model’s must be offset
vertically. Not only are the ocular and objective lenses almost in line with one another
like those of roof prism binoculars, but the lens housings are about an inch higher than
the eyepieces instead of being offset to each side. The result is a more compact
binocular, one that seems to fit the hands naturally. That characteristic becomes
increasingly important during prolonged viewing sessions. There’s seldom any need to
shift the hands or grip, no matter how much time is spent glassing.
According to the Burris catalog,
lenses are “fully coated.” In advertising parlance, that means there is one
chemical coating on all air-to-glass surfaces.
Lens coatings, of course, boost
light transmission, enhance color and reduce both internal and external glare. Originally,
coatings were soft. In fact, they could be scrubbed away by a few thorough cleanings.
That, thankfully, is no longer a possibility. Not only are modern coatings more durable
than ever, but they have also improved light transmission to the point where very little
is lost between ocular and objective lenses.
Any modern binocular performs well
on bright, sun-splashed days. To find out how effective they really are, pick a day when
sky and sun are hidden behind thick layers of dark gray clouds, when the light is flat,
shadows non-existent and colors fade. That’s when lens quality - or the lack of it -
quickly manifests itself.
It was on just such a day when the
Pf model was pulled out of its case and carried afield. For starters, the glasses were
focused on some distant house numbers. Six inches high (I measured them later), they were
plainly visible 438 yards (measured electronically) away. All the words on a real estate
sign 502 yards off were well defined and easy to read. The largest letters were 8 inches
high; the smallest, about 4.
Color transmission was only slightly
affected by the encroaching gloom. A green water tank a couple miles away was definitely
still green - although a bit duller than usual. Red tile roofs on some hacienda-styled
homes on the side of a distant butte looked a tad weather-worn through the glasses, but
unmistakably red nonetheless. All the ponderosa in the vicinity were a shade or two darker
than normal, but their green still matched that of the nearby sage and juniper.
Out at 400 to 500 yards, the amount
of detail visible in the Landmark’s lenses seemed unaffected by the absence of
shadows. That was a surprise. Under ordinary lighting conditions, shadows emphasize
shapes, lend them depth and, in a real sense, underscore the presence of both objects and
people, especially when ranges begin to stretch. Apparently the resolving ability of the
Pf’s lenses compensated for the flat light. By resolving, I refer to the capability
of the lenses to transmit small details, even when the light isn’t too good and
targets are way out there.
The Landmark Pf passed every test
with flying colors. In fact, its overall performance compared surprisingly well with that
of binoculars that cost a heckuva lot more.
Rubberized eye cups fold flat for
the convenience of those of us forced to wear spectacles. Diopter corrections, to
accommodate vision disparities between eyes, are located on the right eyepiece.
A large ribbed focusing wheel is
located between the prism housings. In my judgment, it is geared too high. When trying to
focus on a small object way out yonder, for instance, it takes only the tiniest of nudges
to change focus. All too often,
the nudge isn’t tiny enough and the adjustment has to be repeated, and repeated, and
repeated. As I became more accustomed to the Pf, focusing demanded less time, but lower
gearing would have saved a lot of time and naughty words.
Other than that, the 8x Landmark Pf
deserves high marks. Comfortable to use, easy to carry, it offers a wider-than-average
field of view and truly impressive optical quality. Model Pfs aren’t waterproof but
deemed “water resistant” by the manufacturer. They are covered by a one-year
Anyone in the market for a binocular will do
themselves a favor by giving the Burris Landmark Pf model a long, hard look - preferably
on a dark, cloudy day or around sundown, when the light is poor. I’ll bet you’ll
be as impressed as I was. - Al Miller